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Covid-19: Afreximbank seeks $5bln to purchase vaccines for African countries

Friday, 23 October 2020 18:26
Covid-19: Afreximbank seeks $5bln to purchase vaccines for African countries

(Ecofin Agency) - As part of the fight against covid-19, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) plans to mobilize $5 billion for African countries. The information was relayed by Reuters, which cited John Nkengasong (pictured), director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

According to the official, the funds will be used to finance the purchase of future vaccines that will be developed against the disease. The strategy is designed to complement the WHO strategy, which African countries believe is insufficient to cover all their vaccine needs.

While the richest countries have already pre-ordered millions of doses of potential vaccines, the UN agency has set up the COVAX program, which aims to lower prices and discourage governments from stockpiling vaccines. It also aims to contribute to the purchase and distribution of at least 220 million doses of approved vaccines to African countries by the end of 2021.

For John Nkengasong, this plan will be insufficient and will only reach 8 to 9% of Africa's population, far short of the 40 to 60 percent needed for immunity. According to him, it is necessary to obtain funds to purchase vaccines and not rely solely on WHO’s assistance.

“We are discussing with Afreximbank, and we are ready to raise about $5 billion to support additional doses of vaccines,” Nkengasong said in an interview with Reuters.

As a reminder, according to the latest WHO assessment, Africa has at least 1.6 million cases of coronavirus for 1.3 million recoveries and at least 40,000 deaths. According to Director Nkengasong, Africa CDC has begun talks with the Serum Institute of India to obtain up to 200 million doses of the covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Moutiou Adjibi Nourou

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